A serious question for all those watching the Sonia Sotomayor hearings: Nobody, especially Sotomayor, is really going to say anything new or dramatic, so can we skip it? No? D'oh! A wise Latina might let us, but we all know how the Republicans feel about them.
On this week's Wilshire & Washington, we confront bipartisan hackery head-on in policy, journalism, and words, and we welcome Jon Henke to our digital broadcast booth. Henke is a political and policy consultant, who's worked for Fred Thompson, George Allen and Senator Mitch McConnell; he's also been a blogger since 2003 at QandO.net and recently launched TheNextRight.com.
We start out on the notion of bipartisan policy, which is in some ways bad for everyone: It demands compromise and therefore will annoy the heck out of supporters and push forward half-baked policies. Or, as Henke eloquently puts it, "cutting the baby in half." Eww. Thanks, Jon. But is this sort of buying-votes-through-compromise actually a form of collusion? Can't partisanship be productive? Perhaps we could start by crossing lines to confront legislative bundling and transparency: Why can't Congress remove irrelevant amendments in huge omnibus bills or at least vote on them separately? (Apparently, some earmarks in DC are written on napkins. Great work, guys.)
As is our want, we can't go a whole show without talking Twitter and its effect on politics, with Ted chuckling at Maegan's obsession. Henke offers a novel suggestion: allow politicians to only make statements in 140 characters or less and only in categorical imperatives. It would certainly quicken press conferences, but what would @TheHyperFix do to amuse himself? Teresa suggests that while dialogue in social media politics is exciting, the rampant nature of trolls often quickly devolves the conversation from any logical merit. Is there room for organizational mechanisms in comment sections, Gawker-style?
We also address recent articles about HuffPost and Politico as the future of journalism, which have led some to suggest the future holds only partisanship. Henke thinks it's a good thing. Isn't there a lot of profit -- not necessarily monetary -- to be had in partisan journalism? Financial rewards for being crazy partisan are there, of course (see Beck, Glenn), but opinions are a commodity at this point and what we really need is new information and investigation on both sides. Darn. That's what the objective press provides, isn't it? Maegan notes that it's about time more outlets start competing with Arianna and Josh Marshall, and Jon addresses the GOP's lame rightroots efforts at doing so. It does look like journalism will become far more specialized, just like it has in the tech industry.
We wrap the show with Ted weighing in on Bruno. How offensive was it? Neither Maegan nor Teresa have seen the flick, nor do they want to. Is all this furor over its release just a lot of people not having a sense of humor? It did, after a huge opening on Friday night, crash and burn a little at the box office over the weekend. Will Americans leave their sensitivities at the door? Is it worth seeing Ron Paul and terrorists punked?
Wilshire & Washington, the weekly Blog Talk Radio program that explores the intersection of politics, entertainment, and new media, features co-hosts Ted Johnson, Managing Editor of Variety; conservative blogger Teresa Valdez Klein (www.teresacentric.com), and liberal blogger Maegan Carberry (www.maegancarberry.com). The show airs every Wednesday at 7:30am PST on BlogTalkRadio.com.
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